Does the 'buddy system' approach to weight loss work? A new research study says, yes, but it's not that simple -- ScienceDailyThe researchers found that the showcasing of average weight loss among a peer group can have a negative effect on an individual participant's actual weight loss. More specifically, when an individual compares himself or herself to their peer group, it can be discouraging. On the other hand, when the results of top performers in the weight loss program are showcased, it can have an encouraging effect on other participants' individual weight loss. Individuals tend to be more inspired by those who have achieved the most significant results.
Tight-knit teammates may conform to each other's behavior -- ScienceDailyAfter analyzing the data, the researchers found that participants who felt more closely connected to their teammates and identified strongly as part of the team were more likely to engage in risky behaviors like binge drinking, marijuana use and hazing if they believed their teammates were already doing these activities. Additionally, athletes who belonged to teams that as a whole reported being especially close were more likely to say they would conceal a concussion to remain in play. Graupensperger said the findings -- recently published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology -- suggest that teams should try to find positive ways to encourage bonding between players. "The silver lining is that we did find that conforming does also work similarly for positive behaviors," Graupensperger said. "This finding also generalizes to behaviors like volunteering. So our challenge going forward would be to try to reduce pressures to conform to negative behaviors while still encouraging identifying closely with your teammates."
Behavioral nudges lead to striking drop in prescriptions of potent antipsychotic -- ScienceDailyThe study was a randomized controlled trial targeting the 5,055 highest Seroquel-prescribing primary care physicians nationwide in the Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) program in 2013 and 2014. A random half of the doctors were assigned to the treatment arm and received 3 letters comparing their prescribing practices to their peers; the other half received placebo letters about an unrelated Medicare regulation. The treatment arm's letter stated that the physician's prescribing of quetiapine high relative to their peers was under review. The text also discussed that high quetiapine prescribing could be appropriate but was concerning for medically unjustified use. The letter encouraged primary care physicians to review their prescribing patterns. The physicians who got the peer comparison letters dropped their overall Seroquel prescribing by 11 percent over the next 9 months and 16 percent over the next 2 years. New initiations of Seroquel dropped even more: 24 percent over 2 years.
Seniors stick to fitness routines when they work out together -- ScienceDailyOver the 24-week period, participants who worked out with people their own age attended an average of 9.5 more classes than counterparts in the mixed-age group. Participants in the mixed-age group averaged 24.3 classes. Participants in the same-age, mixed-gender group averaged 33.8 classes, and participants in the same-age, same-gender group averaged 30.7 classes.
Group exercise improves quality of life, reduces stress far more than individual work outs -- ScienceDailyAt the end of the twelve weeks, their mean monthly survey scores showed significant improvements in all three quality of life measures: mental (12.6 percent), physical (24.8 percent) and emotional (26 percent). They also reported a 26.2 percent reduction in perceived stress levels.
We're motivated to stay ahead more than to catch up? (Relates to fear of losing?)Peer effects in running are also heterogeneous across relationship types. For example, runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse, but not far worse, than their own as well as by those who perform slightly better, but not far better, than they do (Fig. 2a). Moreover, less active runners influence more active runners more than more active runners influence less active runners (Fig. 2b). These results are corroborated by heterogeneity across consistent and inconsistent runners. Inconsistent runners influence consistent runners more than consistent runners influence inconsistent runners (Fig. 2c). Social comparisons may provide an explanation for these results. Festinger’s social comparison theory proposes that we self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others27. But, in the context of exercise, a debate exists about whether we make upward comparisons to those performing better than ourselves28 or downward comparisons to those performing worse than ourselves29. Comparisons to those ahead of us may motivate our own self-improvement, while comparisons to those behind us may create ‘competitive behaviour to protect one’s superiority’ (27, p. 126). Our findings are consistent with both arguments, but the effects are much larger for downward comparisons than for upward comparisons.
Exercise contagion in a global social network : 10% booststrong contagion effects: on the same day, on average, an additional kilometre run by friends influences ego to run an additional 3/10th of a kilometre (Fig. 1a); an additional kilometre per minute run by friends influences ego to run an additional 3/10th of a kilometre per minute faster (Fig. 1b); an additional 10 min run by friends influences ego to run 3 min longer (Fig. 1c); and an additional 10 calories burned by friends influences ego to burn three and a half additional calories (Fig. 1d). This peer influence diminishes over time, with friends’ running today influencing ego less tomorrow and the day after for every measure.
To lose weight, and keep it off, be prepared to navigate interpersonal challenges -- ScienceDaily"All 40 of the study participants reported having people in their lives try to belittle or undermine their weight loss efforts," Romo says. "This negative behavior is caused by what I call lean stigma. However, the study found participants used specific communication strategies to cope with lean stigma and maintain both their weight loss and their personal relationships." The communication strategies fell into two different categories. The first category focused on study participants helping other people "save face," or not feel uncomfortable about the study participant's weight loss and healthy eating habits. The second category focused on damage control: participants finding ways to mitigate discomfort people felt about an individual's weight loss and related lifestyle changes.
Want a new body? Get a new 'buddy'! | News | The University of AberdeenDr Rackow added: “Once we found that having a new exercise companion increases exercise frequency we wanted to find out why this is beneficial and what quality of support they offer that has this effect. Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together. “
Social networks can support academic success -- ScienceDailyAccording to the authors, in choosing friends, students do not usually consider academic performance, but over time -- often in the middle of the academic year -- all members in a peer group tend to perform at about the same level. Thus, most students who surrounded themselves with high-achievers improved their performance over time. The opposite was also true -- those who befriended underachievers eventually experienced a drop in grades. According to the authors, while underachievers have a stronger influence on their networks, high performers tend to gain popularity and expand their influence over time, particularly by helping other students with their studies.
July 9, 1968 - Jogging: The Newest Road to Fitness | Chicago Tribune ArchiveTwo attorneys for the Cook county public defenders office, Andre Mande- ville, 44, of 1546 Wieland st., and Ted Gottfied, 27, of 859 Belden av., keep themselves jogging by not wanting to be the first one to quit. "A lot of us need incentive from someone else," Mandeville said. "My partner never misses a morning, and I feel guilty when for some reason I do."
Run better with friendsThis positive peer pressure even works on a subconscious level—thanks to a concept called "social facilitation," says Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., a sports psychology consultant at Your Runner's Edge. It was first discovered with cyclists—they had faster times when racing against someone else versus doing a time trial on their own. The same holds true with runners. "When you run with others, you tend to give more effort," she says. "You get caught up in the pace, and you might not recognize how fast you're going."
You shop like those around youOn average, people bought stuff 15 to 16 percent of the time. But if you saw someone next to you order something, your chances of buying something, too, jumped by 30 percent, or about four percentage points.
Peers drag us up... and downLeonardo Bursztyn, an assistant professor at UCLA, and Robert Jensen a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, handed out fliers encouraging 11th-graders to sign up for a free SAT class. The twist: Some of the fliers said that everyone in the class would know who signed up. Some of the fliers said that decisions would be kept private. In honors classrooms, kids were 25 percent more likely to sign up if they knew their peers would be judging them. In non-honors classrooms, kids were 25 percent less likely to sign up.
Topsy makes its money from more sophisticated tools — aimed at marketers, media companies, political operations, and hedge funds — that require a subscription fee that starts at $12,000 a year. Those allow searches that compare different terms, narrow down results by geography and surface the specific tweets with the most influence on the social conversation.
Berggren and his team designed the Readmill app so that words--and only words--are the focus point of every page. But if you find a passage you like or a sentence that irks you, you can highlight it on the page and then comment on it right from within the book. Other Readmill users reading the same book will then see these comments and can choose add their own thoughts. This starts a discussion--indeed, a bona fide social network--within the book, without ever having to leave it. The social network-in-a-book format also allows authors to take part in discussions with their readers, right inside the margins of their own book--something Berggren has found both readers and authors love. And of course, if a reader doesn’t want to see other people’s comments, they can just disable them and stick to the words at hand.